The sparing use of natural resources goes without saying with MULTIVAC and it is an important criterion in the development of packaging solutions. As far back as IFFA 2010, MULTIVAC presented, with its e-concept, a machine design which contributes to the reduction of resources consumed during packaging operations.
Since that time, these solutions have continued to be further developed and transferred to other packaging machines. Thanks to the use of various innovative technologies, it is possible to utilise packaging materials, energy and cooling water particularly efficiently. This technology also contributes to raising the output capability of packaging machines and increasing machine availability.
MULTIVAC used its R 245 thermoforming packaging machine at Anuga FoodTec 2015 to showcase a variety of different approaches to increasing the material, energy and process efficiency in food packaging.
The design geometry of the cross cutter with its segmented cutting tool enables the width of the partitions between the packs to be reduced. The use of a positioning device with a servo motor for the sealing and cutting stations also contributes to making this possible.
The reduction of the sealing flange is achieved through the use of innovative die geometry.
On the R 245, a solution for evacuation and gas flushing is used which, in conjunction with new die geometry, contributes to minimising the width of the edge trim.
Innovative die geometry and process management optimise the utilisation of the film surface and reduce the film trim. The utilisation of packaging material is improved by means of sealing and cutting stations, which are moved by servo motors, and by the use of segmented cutting tools. This means the width of the sealing flanges is reduced, as is that of the edge trim and the partitions between individual packs.
MULTIVAC also uses various thermoforming processes to meet the requirement for reducing film thickness.
On the R 245, a drawer system enables a quick and ergonomic die change to be performed, saving up to 75 percent of the time taken by a manual change. After the side panel has been opened, two runner rails are fitted, on which the required die bottom section can be pulled out of the packaging machine just like a drawer. The die change can be carried out by a single person and it is not necessary to remove the safety guards or support bars to change the die bottom section.
When docked at the die change opening of the thermoforming packaging machine, a die changing trolley is used to aid ergonomic conversion of the die bottom sections. When the change has been completed, the trolley is pulled out of the machine opening and the side panel is then closed. The dies or forming plates that are not required are kept safely in the trolley and can be transported in this through the production area.
The program-supported die change also contributes to reducing set-up time. The machine undertakes some of the individual process stages fully and automatically, others have to be performed by the operator and acknowledged after completion. In addition to this, the time taken for the die change is further reduced by the automatic positioning of format-related components and by die top and bottom sections, which are screwed together as a single unit for changing.
The thermoforming packaging machine can also be equipped as an option with several stations, each dedicated to one format. This means that conversion in the classic sense is not required, since the individual dies are arranged one after the other on the machine, and they can be switched on or off via the machine control.
Thanks to the use of jumbo film rolls, the required roll changes - and with these the downtime - can be reduced by some 75 percent. An integrated stand-by function switches the heating systems, vacuum pump and water circulation pump to sleep mode, if the packaging machine is stopped for more than 30 minutes, e.g. during breaks, and this ensures production availability at the planned time.
The replacement of pneumatic modules with servo motor modules reduces energy consumption by at least 20 percent compared to comparable models. Thanks to the use of servo drives, the movements of the lifting units can be controlled exceptionally accurately in regards to the speed and opening width. This contributes to an overall increase in the cycle output. This technology also significantly simplifies the running on the machine of different packaging materials with different thicknesses. The stand-by mode minimises energy consumption during breaks in production. Fresh water consumption is also reduced by means of a control unit for the flow of cooling water. An integrated sensor constantly measures the temperature of the cooling water. Fresh cooling water is only fed into the system once a certain temperature is reached. This reduces the fresh water consumption of the machine by up to 50 percent.